News Consumption Has Changed Forever, And How! [Study]

A new comprehensive study has found that people prefer to read news on their smartphones and tablets over their computers. Apps and social media has changed the way consume stories.

Over the last few months, as more and more of us got smartphones and tablets, there has been a significant change in how the vast majority consumed its daily dose of news. Furthermore, as more people started hitting the Web, the role of social media too has become even more accentuated for news publications.

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A study from Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2014 has revealed where readers are getting most of their news from; the impact of social media on news, the traction that weird viral stories are getting and more.

More people use their phones for checking news

People have shown preference to their always-on and connected to the Web smartphones and tablets. Over the last few months, more people have started using their smartphones and tablets to check for news and there has been a decline in the number of people using their computers for the same.

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Furthermore, around 39% of users use at least two digital devices each week for checking news. 12% have said that they use three or more devices. A fifth of those users say that mobile handsets are their primary access point.

Switch to digital subscription

While the number of people who pay for the content has remained the same, several of the users have moved on to digital subscription. The study also found that several users stick to a particular publication because of the individual writers.

Facebook is the most important network

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The role of social media has become crucial as well. Social juggernaut Facebook has been found to be the most important network for news. Twitter has been widely used in the US and Spain and most parts of the UK, though, in many countries, the service is yet to make a dent, and surprisingly, it is behind YouTube at breaking news. Google + and instant messaging service WhatsApp too have been important for news.

US welcomes opinionated views, whereas European prefer news unbiased

An interesting observation that the report found was that European respondents prefer neutral stories, whereas Americans have shown more interest in personal opinions and views.

Social sharing websites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, NowThisNews and Huffington Post have attracted younger people from all across the world. The study has found that weird news stories are more/as popular than entertainment news. People also love to hear more about the celebrities they admire. 

Role of apps on how we consume news

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As with the growth of smartphones and tablets, there has been a tremendous growth among apps as well. Several amazing apps, be it the plain RSS reader, or magazine style apps like Flipboard, Pulse or news streaming services, many people use specific apps, instead of websites to look for news. These apps define how people discover news as well.

In developed nations like UK, over 50% of users are said to use apps to access news. This is rather surprising, as many news publications have deployed responsive Web designs on their websites — making it easier for the Web to adjust on various screen sizes.

But that isn’t necessarily a good news for new publications

The study has found that a majority of users tends to look at fewer websites for news. Also, they do not go for news sources that they haven’t looked at before.

Around 37% users use only a single news source each week on a smartphone — whereas, 30% of laptop and computer users do the same. In several countries, like UK for instance, the difference is ever more stark. Around 55% of smartphone and 45% of computer users confessed to use a single source for news. This has shown an evident fall in the adoption of several unestablished news publications.

Around 50% of users who read news on tablets and smartphones said that they also read news on newspapers. 86% of such users said they also watch TV for the news.

Read the full report here (PDF).

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